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Old 08-02-2008, 08:09 AM   #1
Sergeytov
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Influence Over NPCs

One of the issues I've been pondering for quite a while (and working with on and off) is the idea of PCs and their ability to influence the NPC world about them. The primary problem I see right now is ultimately, "How can we determine how many NPC resources a PC can bring to bear on a situation?" - And in most cases, I'm not even talking about combat. For example, if a PC owns a large corporation, how much legal BS can they sling? Or simply, 'how much money does the corporation (whose activities take place largely in the background) make on a regular basis?'

I've pondered (and tried) multiple approaches so far.
- A 'faction point' system (think WoW, for those familiar) to gauge how much a group or entity likes a character. I cut this one short since the methods of earning faction points were automated, and characters were accumulating them at very high rates.
- A 'faction marker' system. - Kind of like a 'favors owed' type deal. Do a big job for a group, or donate/contribute cash and be owed favors later. This one is still in the 'worked on/pondering' stage, and hasn't been tested with the playerbase yet.
- A 'orgsheet' system. - This idea is based on the belief that entities, like PCs, have certain skills or abilities. PCs can also invest money into the entity to represent acquiring more NPC resources, but they have to pay monthly for them. This is currently in the system, however I've been paring it down recently due to minor implementation of the final idea.
- A series of subsystems. - For example, in the Orgsheet system, the org would have a stat called 'medical treatment.' In the subsystem version, there are detailed and specific ways to, as I joked with a player or two recently, Pimp Your Medbay. For example, characters can upgrade their medical facilities, reduce treatment time, or add NPCs to treat others. I've yet to test it on other systems, but this seems to be interesting to my players so far.

As far as data on the game itself goes: It's a sci-fi Roleplay focus MUSH with approximately 45 active characters, so the ultimate objective is to determine the NPC resource question to enhance roleplaying opportunities.
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Old 08-02-2008, 12:07 PM   #2
Ide
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Re: Influence Over NPCs

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Originally Posted by Sergeytov View Post
- A 'orgsheet' system. - This idea is based on the belief that entities, like PCs, have certain skills or abilities. PCs can also invest money into the entity to represent acquiring more NPC resources, but they have to pay monthly for them. This is currently in the system, however I've been paring it down recently due to minor implementation of the final idea.
- A series of subsystems. - For example, in the Orgsheet system, the org would have a stat called 'medical treatment.' In the subsystem version, there are detailed and specific ways to, as I joked with a player or two recently, Pimp Your Medbay. For example, characters can upgrade their medical facilities, reduce treatment time, or add NPCs to treat others. I've yet to test it on other systems, but this seems to be interesting to my players so far.

I like this approach this best; making the orgs functionally similar to PCs in terms of skills and abilities means you don't have to re-implement abilities for orgs, and gives players something tangible to fight over, trade, invest in, and so on. Also you can tie orgs to locations pretty easily if they're objects like this.
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Old 08-05-2008, 04:31 AM   #3
Sergeytov
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Re: Influence Over NPCs

Just got a brand new experiment in earlier tonight for NPC influence. Short version is I made 'business' subsheets with a few simple stats, and PCs can buy, invest in, sell, and transfer these companies about. The mentality is very similar to my medbay example, in fact.

My PCs seem interested in the idea at the very least, right now. Especially those looking to play investor type characters.
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Old 02-12-2010, 12:02 AM   #4
silvarilon
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Re: Influence Over NPCs

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Originally Posted by Sergeytov View Post
Just got a brand new experiment in earlier tonight for NPC influence. Short version is I made 'business' subsheets with a few simple stats, and PCs can buy, invest in, sell, and transfer these companies about. The mentality is very similar to my medbay example, in fact.

My PCs seem interested in the idea at the very least, right now. Especially those looking to play investor type characters.
Sounds cool!

In Ironclaw we've gone the exact opposite way. Instead of making rules for NPC influence, we've made it more vague.

Every PC in the game can join various guilds, or create their own guild.
For every active member in a guild, the guild gets a number of "tokens" each day, depending on their members skills. So if their member has spy skills, they get subterfuge tokens. If their member has combat skills they get martial tokens. If their member has trading skills they get economy tokens. And if their member has social skills they get society tokens.

When the players want to bring the NPC influence to bear, they spend the appropriate type of token. So asking NPCs for influence costs subterfuge tokens. Getting an NPC to guard a door or beat up someone costs martial tokens. Some of these token uses are programmed in, and others are manually handled by staff. Players can request a game effect and staff will say how many tokens it will cost. This allows players to do things that aren't programmed into the game systems, but might make sense for the story, and gives staff a fair way to make sure that they aren't just favoring players they like.

An example of recent use - one character was accused of having stolen some steel. They spent economy tokens to ask for an NPC metalsmith to come check if their steel matched the same type as the stolen steel. Staff popped in, had the NPC say "No, this obviously comes from a different mine, look at the red flecks in here..." and left, but the player got the freedom of coming up with creative solutions rather than having to rely on what was coded.
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